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  • Gwen Diaz

273 - Jesus Washes the Disciples’ Feet

It was Thursday, the day of the Jewish Passover Feast. Jesus sent some of his disciples into Jerusalem to prepare for the meal. He instructed them to go to the home of a certain man. The man had a guest room on the second floor, and Jesus knew that he would allow them to celebrate the Passover there. That evening Jesus and the 12 disciples gathered in that upper room to celebrate. Shortly after they had reclined around the table, the disciples began to argue about which of them was the greatest and who should be allowed to sit next to Jesus. Jesus got up from the table, took off his outer coat, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash his disciples’ feet and dry them with the towel. This was a job that was usually assigned to the lowliest servant in the household. However, since there were no servants available, and since no disciple was willing to do it, Jesus humbly accepted the role. Peter was shocked. “What are you doing, Lord?” he questioned as Jesus began to wash his feet. “You don’t understand what I am doing right now, but one day you will,” Jesus replied. “No, I will never let you wash my feet!” Peter argued. “If you are not willing to listen to me and submit to me now, then you will not be able to take part in the things I am going to do later.” Jesus told him. Peter immediately responded, “Then don’t wash just my feet! Wash my hands and my head as well!” Jesus must have smiled and shook his head at Peter’s sudden about-face and unrestrained enthusiasm. As he washed Peter’s feet he explained, “A person who has had a bath is already clean. When his feet get dirty, he doesn’t need another bath. He just needs to wash his feet.” Jesus was using physical cleansing as an illustration of spiritual cleansing. “You are already clean,” he said to Peter. Accepting Jesus as his Messiah had made Peter clean. But as he walked through life, there were times when his spiritual feet got dirty, and he needed to let Jesus wash them. With a sad heart, Jesus added, “But not all of you are clean!” He knew that Judas had chosen to reject him as the Messiah. Incredibly, Jesus was willing to wash even the feet of the man he knew was going to betray him later that evening. Jesus still loved Judas. He wanted to give him one more opportunity to change his mind (see #272 - September 29). When he had finished washing the disciples’ feet, Jesus put his coat back on and returned to his place at the table. “Do you understand what I just did for you?” he asked. You call me your Lord and Teacher, and that’s what I am. But I did this as an example for you. Since I am willing to wash your feet, you should be willing to humble yourselves and wash each other’s. You will be blessed if you do this.”

When you walk into a room do you look around and compare yourself to others like the disciples did? Or do you look around for people whose “feet need to be washed” like Jesus did? Jesus wants us to follow his example. He promises to bless us if we do.

273 - Jesus Washes the Disciples' Feet
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